Print House Waikato Cup, 12.30pm Saturday, June 21, Waikato University
Only a pornstar with a mahogany dildo could pound more woodwork than Charles Daly has this season, and the relief and satisfaction on his face at finally scoring on Saturday may draw similar comparisons. That his equaliser before half time was only enough to send the game to extra time, in which Claudelands scored twice to take the win, would have left him frustrated all the same.
Unicol went behind early and kept 11 men on the field despite John Ryan blatantly clearing with his hand, the referee adjudging the ball had already crossed the line, but they struck back immediately with a Sam Cameron header. Cameron’s leap over a 7-foot defender just out-shining his midfield partner's delivery from the corner.
In fact the set-piece was remarkably solid considering the number of free headers the Unicol defence has given away in recent weeks. Unfortunately there was little they could do to prevent the second Claudelands goal, a curling free kick from just outside the 18-yard box.
Claudelands earned the free kick after Ryan had taken out the striker with only the keeper to beat, a feat he also escaped unsanctioned. If President Obama had sent him on a mission to commit every red card-able offence possible, he was only a Zinedine Zidane head-butt away from earning the Medal of Honor inside 30 minutes.
Daly’s goal levelled the game once more and set up a typical knockout second-half of nervy, tense football. Unicol failed to take numerous chances; striker Lee Warin, who is a haircut and a pair of contact lenses away from being Diego Forlán, hardly touching the ball. A soft penalty and an offside finish decided the game in extra-time.
Unicol 2; Claudelands 4.